(KMOV.com) -- St. Clair County officials said that this year’s “Gun Buy Back” event was a huge success compared to last year’s event. Residents turned in 130 guns, compared to only eight last year.
On November 23rd, St. Clair residents were asked to turn in their guns in exchange for grocery vouchers. State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly told News 4 that the vouchers were purchased with a $10,000 grant from drug money seized in the area.
One county resident said, “I need the money. I don’t use the rifle. Why keep it in the house?” And by the turn out, this resident was not alone in that sentiment.
Sheriff Richard Watson said that previous gun buyback programs in the county have not been a success because people are often afraid of being questioned about their firearms.
“What I want you to know is that this is not a trick. We are not tricking you to come in with a gun so that we can arrest you,” said Watson prior to the event, “We are there to sincerely get guns off the streets and give you something you can use.”
Police asked people to bring unloaded guns to the Clyde C. Jordan Center on State Street in East Saint Louis. Police deputies and State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly attended the five hour event.